In our travels, we stumble upon places we won’t forget. Like those restaurants we loved for food. And those we loved for the ambiance. And then, there are those that struck us straight in the heart because the food, the ambiance, and the people made us feel special. And that’s why when we’re asked where to eat in Siquijor, only Baha Ba’r comes to mind.
That was a quiet Saturday night. From our guest house in San Juan, we took a habal-habal further down south. Past one kilometer from the town, we came to a busy spot along the road of Maite—the famous Baha Ba’r. In a span of about two years, this top scorer on TripAdvisor has easily become the talk of the town and a favorite among foreign and local travelers.
The Place to Chill
Our first impression of Baha Ba’r was terrific. It’s a lively meeting place for travelers from different parts of the world, yet it’s as relaxing and convenient as home. Its wooden design and the breezy open-air lounge perfectly blend with the rustic, laidback atmosphere of the island.
All over the place, there are pieces of native furniture, paintings, and photographs. There’s a shelf of books and a guitar you can pick up anytime to enjoy the moment with friends. On one side of the bar, there’s an extended area called the Kusina Bar, another comfy space designated for smoking guests.
As I took the stairs to the second floor, I got reminded me of the old house of my aunt. Her rules were simple: Shoes and slippers must be left at the doorstep. And the wooden floor must be spanking clean. Darlyn, one of the staff, led us to a table at the corner of the bar, and then we got seated on one of the comfy sofas where we could see the live performance of their country music singer.
I later learned that Baha Bar’s design was actually inspired Cang-Isok’s house, a 200-year old stilt house at the eastern side of Siquijor. The word baha (stressed on the second syllable) is the local term for flood. Because this spot where the bar stands has been regularly flooded in the old days, the owners intentionally took that as the name of the business. That also makes the stilt house concept very apt for its story.
Overall, the place is best for the tired traveler who wants to chill in the company of friends, good music, and great food. How come we didn’t have lunch here?, I told Mickoi who didn’t quite like our overpriced lunch somewhere downtown.
A Parade of Yummy
As I listened to the country singer, I nibbled on sweet potato wedges that also brought memories of home. Every food at Baha is meant to have a local touch, so that native sweet potato did it just right. And that Death by Chocolate has a wicked goodness of homemade ice cream, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and vodka that’s too hard to resist.
And then, one by one, the food came to our table.
Their pork liempo ala Siquijor was my top pick. Grilled pork belly infused in Filipino BBQ sauce and topped with grilled pineapple slices, plus a cup of steamed rice. P295 Mickoi had grilled fish glazed with lemon-butter sauce, stir-fried cabbage, and some deep-fried potato chips. P230 We also some eggplant salad—fresh eggplant from Baha’s gardens grilled and tossed with red bell pepper, ginger, and onion. P130
I think we ordered a lot, because we also decided to try one of their pizzas. Our bet was the tomato and cheese pizza, thin crust, 12 inches. P280 The rich flavors of tomato, cheese, onion, bell pepper, and parsley got our nods that it’s one of the mouthwatering pizzas we’ve had in our trips.
Their homemade ice cream was the biggest surprise of the night. At P70 per scoop, we got the creamiest dessert of mango, ube, and vanilla ice cream. It was hard to believe it’s homemade.
More Than A Restobar
That night was a great dining experience, not only because the food met our expectation, but also because the customer service was first class. Their staff earned my admiration. Darlyn knows their menu by heart and speaks great English. Regel was also very accommodating she wanted us to go back soon and stay longer.
Indeed, we were back the next morning. We had nowhere else to get our food for lunch, so we decided to take out some packed lunch for our Siquijor tour. Gen, the owner, also showed us around their property, and that’s when it dawned on me that Baha Ba’r is more than a bar-restaurant. It’s an all-in-one destination in Siquijor.
Here are other things to love about Baha Ba’r.
- Sunset deck—Grab a cold bottle of San Miguel and watch the beautiful San Juan sunset.
- Subwing adventure—Glide underwater and explore the reefs of Siquijor. This watersport developed in Norway is available in Siquijor through Baha Ba’r. P1000 for 2 persons.
- Mountain biking—Get more adventurous. Rent one of their mountain bikes and explore the trail at Mt Bandilaan. P750 per person, 2-3 hours trip on a 23 -kilometer trail
- Accommodation—Just behind the sunset deck, facing the Apo Island, is a large family room with a small plunge pool. They also have a cottage ideal for couple travelers. Check some photos here.
Word of Mouth
It’s the perfect place to chill, especially after a day tour around Siquijor. The relaxing ambiance and the food was great! I loved that acoustic band. Watching the sundown and the view of the sea from their sunset deck was also the best part of our visit at Baha Ba’r.
The feeling of home is what makes me hang out in a place. Baha Bar exactly has that, a welcoming mood where every visitor can feel relaxed. The native design of Baha complements the life in the island–simple yet colorful and upbeat. The food are appetizing and fresh from the farm. The price is reasonable. What else can I ask for, Baha Ba’r is a must-visit place because it has great food and good people.
* Check the rest of Baha Bar’s dishes in their menu.
HOW TO GET THERE
Baha Ba’r is about 8 kilometers from Siquijor Port and 1 kilometer from San Juan town proper. From your resort, take a tricycle or habal-habal and pay the standard rate for transportation. From Siquijor Port to Tubod in San Juan, fare starts at P250 for tricycles and P400 for multicabs. Both of these rates are for a one-way trip.
All photos in this article, unless otherwise captioned, were taken with a smartphone. For this post, we banked on the power of Huawei P9, the most advanced camera phone for mobile photography. Visit Huawei’s Facebook page for more details about their products. #OO #HuaweiP9PH